Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolutions

1. Take up neurosurgery. 
2. Circumnavigate globe in newly-purchased tugboat. 
3. Audition for "Spider-Man" lead aerialist. 
4. Curtsy more.
5. Open "SJG:  Hora! Hora!  Hora!" in Vegas.
6. Stop mooning pedestrians.  
7. Earn extra cash driving big rig.
8. Remind people they're SJG-adjacent.
9. Develop miracle anti-kvetching drug.
10. Take Thomas The Talking Torah public.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Free At Last

Yesterday's move went well, except for the rain.  But hang on.  Doesn't rain bring good luck?  It's a wedding day superstition, but didn't the eldest just get hitched to a nice monthly rent check that's coming out of his own wallet?  Let's take a moment to say mazel tov.  By the way, he's registered at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Liquor Hut.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Enabler Found In Sherman Oaks

My friend Candice, the Laughing Matriarch, tells me I'm the ultimate enabler when it comes to my sons.  I have no idea what she's talking about.  Is it because I make their lives a little easier by doing everything for them, with the exception of wiping their tushies, which I stopped doing a few years back?  Is it because I let my sons think they're in charge of their lives, when really, I'm the one pulling the strings?  I refer you to the recent apartment search for the eldest.  Who found the apartment?  The SJG.  Where is the apartment located?  Three blocks from the SJG.  See what I did there?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Name That Actress

Is that Judy Dench?
Last night, before we settle in to watch yet another DVD, "The Sound of Music" pops up on the telly, just as you-know-who starts singing, "The Hills Are Alive."  The SJG lights up.  "This is the first movie that ever made me cry."  The eldest, two days away from moving out, says, "Is that Judy Dench?"  "Are you kidding?" I say.  Hubby looks at the TV.  "That's Judy Garland."  I start weeping.  "What is wrong with you?  It's Julie Andrews."  Hubby, who must be strapped down to watch a musical, takes another look.  "Oh, right."  Through my tears, I look at them.  "Can we watch 'Sound of Music' instead?  Please?  Please?"  The two of them laugh hysterically.  I guess that's a no. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Black Swans & Blue Valentines

Oy vey, has she got some issues
The SJG has been on a movie rampage, seeing as many new and depressing and weird flicks as I can, just so I'll have something to say to anyone who'll listen. "Hey, come back," I said to some lady in the produce aisle, "don't you want me to tell you what not to waste your money on?"  She didn't.  But maybe you do, so here's the break-
down:  "The Black Swan" is so over-the-top insane, you may need to be medicated to get through it. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This Just In

Anderson Cooper in an attractive bespoke suit
On Christmas Eve Day, when all good Jews sit around doing nothing, my dad, the one, the only, Mr. Ben Starr, shared one his many theories with the SJG.  I was so impressed, I made him write it down and send it to me:  "At some undetermined time in the near future all the TV sets in the world will suddenly go dark. Then each set will light up again to reveal the presence of a distinguished-looking gray-haired gentleman wearing an attractive bespoke suit, shirt and tie."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas for the Jews

Darlene Love
It took three tries, but Darlene Love, best known for such hits as “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” and her work with producer Phil Spector, will be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in March 2011.  Here she is singing "Christmas for the Jews," a SNL "Funhouse" treasure that the SJG brought you last year, when my bloggy was a little baby crawling toward worldwide web domination.   

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Senior Texting Codes

The SJG a few years down the road
My dad, the hippest alta cocker I know, sent me these anonymous STCs (Senior Texting Code). If you qualify for Senior Discounts, these are for you. If you don't, it gives you something to look forward to as you grow old and leaky.  Who said aging isn't funny?
· ATD ~ At The Doctor's
· BFF ~ Best Friend Farted
· BTW ~ Bring The Wheelchair
· BYOT ~ Bring Your Own Teeth
· CBM ~ Covered By Medicare
· CUATSC ~ See You At The Senior Center
· DWI ~ Driving While Incontinent
· FWB ~ Friend With Beta Blockers
· FWIW ~ Forgot Where I Was
· FYI ~ Found Your Insulin
· GGLKI ~ Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In
· GGPBL ~ Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
· GHA ~ Got Heartburn Again
· HGBM ~ Had Good Bowel Movement
· IMHO ~ Is My Hearing-Aid On?
· LMDO ~ Laughing My Dentures Out
· LOL ~ Living On Lipitor
· LWO ~ Lawrence Welk's On
· OMMR ~ On My Massage Recliner
· OMSG ~ Oh My! Sorry, Gas!
· OVIM ~ Oy Vey, I'm Old
· ROFL-CGU ~ Rolling On Floor Laughing,Can't Get Up
· SGGP ~ Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
· TTYL ~ Talk To You Louder
· WAITT ~ Who Am I Talking To?
· WTFA ~ Wet The Furniture Again
· WTP ~ Where's The Prunes?
· WWNO ~ Walker Wheels Need Oil

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Return of Wet Doggy

Back by popular demand:  Wet Dusty
Wet doggy
Shake shake shake
Sprayin' that water
Like you own da place
Wet doggy
Squish, squish, squish
Stompin' your pawprints
Like you own da place
Wet doggy
Chase, chase, chase
Runnin' that hallway
Like you own da place
Wet doggy
Ruff, ruff, ruff
Wearin' your towel
Like you own da place
Wet doggy
Strut, strut, strut
Workin' that booty
Like you own da place
Wet doggy
Wag, wag, wag
Lickin' your bizness
Like you own da place
Wet doggy
Dry, dry, dry
Huggin' that sofa
Like you own da place

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lucy Schwartz

Lucy Schwartz
Hubby went to an Xmas party last week and saw a gifted young L.A.-bred singer named Lucy Schwartz, performing songs from her new album, "Life in Letters."  She's a favorite of KCRW's Chris Douridas, and for good reason.  She's amazing.  I saw her CD just sitting there on the kitchen table.  Hubby thought our youngest, the music maven, would enjoy it, but I grabbed it like a toddler and said, "Mine." Only 20, she's recorded songs for movies and TV shows ("Parenthood," "Grey's Anatomy").  If a nice Jewish gal doesn't deserve some extra love and attention, I ask you, who does?  Take a look, why doncha.  Go on. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Tree Grows In Beverly Hills

Starr Family Folklore, from my brother John:  "My memory may be faulty, but before you were born Mom bought a Christmas Tree once and only once. I think Peter was 4 and I was 1. Grandpa saw it and refused to come in the house. I believe Dad had to literally drag the 'Hanukkah Bush' outside to the trash." 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Night Out

"Somebody else could declare war with less trepidation and uncertainty than a Jew picking a restaurant. Which is the best one, and how to find it, and how much they charge, and what is the main dish compared to the other ones. This one is good, but I don't like their appetizer. This one has a good chopped liver, but I don't like their soup. You watch Jews selecting a restaurant, it's like a family that's choosing a bride."  Jackie Mason on NYC Jews

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas Day

For your personal enjoyment:  A Short Jewish Boy named Paul Simon performs "Getting Ready For Christmas Day," a deceptively up tempo holiday song from his album "So Beautiful Or So What," out in April 2011.  Years ago, hubby and I met him in the parking lot of a club called Helena's.  Were we ever hip?  Hard to believe.  It was 1986 and "Graceland" had just come out.  Paul Simon was getting grief for ripping off South African musicians and other mishegas.  Hubby and I took it upon ourselves to cheer him up.  We said how much we loved "Graceland" and anyone who didn't agree was an a-hole.  Or something like that.  As Paul Simon looked up at me, he seemed genuinely pleased and said thank you.  That's right, people.  The SJG towered over Paul Simon.  Towered!  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advice for the Hollywood Lovelorn

Dear SJG,
The Canadian I live with, make that lived with, aka People's Sexiest Man of the Year, and I have decided to end our starter marriage of two years.  We'd like to remain friends.  Do you think that's possible?
Just wondering,


Dear Scarlett,
The chances of you and Ryan staying friends are about as good as the SJG winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by a Short Jew.  Dustin Hoffman already won that one a while back. 
You're welcome,

Dear SJG,
After wracking my brain, thinking, 'Why am I not out there playing the field?' I went ahead and dumped my girlfriend of four years.  She's a sweet girl, but I'm ready to share the wealth, if you know what I mean.  As a parting gift, I'm thinking of giving her a Minnie Mouse soap-on-a-rope for Christmas, unless you can think of something a little less personal. 

Dear Zac,
By all means, give Vanessa the soap-on-a-rope, so she can tell you exactly where to stick it. 
You're welcome,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Wise Old Man

Recently, a journalist for sister station WSJG heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was, walking slowly up to the holy site. She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview. "Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith from WSJG.  What's your name?" "Morris Feinberg," he replied. "Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?" "For about 60 years." "60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?" "I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims. I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop. I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults, and to love their fellow man." "How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?" she asked.  "Like I'm talking to an eff'ng wall." (courtesy of my brother Peter, with a little SJG tweaking)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oy, Tannenbaum

The SJG ponders the lack of Xmas party invites
The SJG doesn't get invited to many Christmas parties anymore.  Year after year, I have no one to RSVP to, except myself.  I can't help but wonder where I went wrong.  Was it the time I organized the rousing hora around the tree?  I did yell "Timber" before it fell to the ground, followed by, "Clean up on aisle three." I thought that covered it.  Was it the time I dressed up like a naughty elf and recited my youngest son's haftorah portion?  It got a standing O at his Bar Mitzvah.  I thought that covered it.  Was it the time I solicited all party-goers to give generously to the cult of the SJG?  I only asked for small donations, under a thousand dollars.  I thought that covered it.  And yet, I have a stack of citations for misbehavior and no filing system big enough to hold them.  Apparently, I've made a few strategic errors here and there, an innocent social faux pas now and then. I could use some clarity, and so, I turn to you, my peeps, for guidance.  Any thoughts on how the SJG might get back into the Xmas party scene?  'Tis the season, doncha know.  Feel free to share your ideas.  It's been so long since I've downed an entire punch bowl of eggnog.  I really miss the buzz.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Freelance Career

The SJG:  The Early Freelance Years
If I ever grow nostalgic, looking back on my many years of writing for newspapers and magazines, I have only to look at this hilarious video, sent to me by my good buddy Malcolm. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Cheer

Give a little something, bitch.
The holiday cards are starting to trickle in, offering good cheer and plenty of guilt. 
-- "Happy Holidays, SJG.  Don't forget your L.A. Times delivery person needs to eat, too.  He's still nibbling on that stale donut you gave him last year.  Maybe this year, you can spring for a dozen, if it's not too much freakin' trouble, your Shortness.  Thanks for nothing, the L.A. Times."
-- "Arrowhead Wishes Health and Happiness, Plus A Nice Helping of Mazel, to the SJG. Don't forget, Estabon sprained his back lifting all those heavy bottles you made him line up in astrological order in your garage.  A little something to help pay for his physical therapy couldn't hurt.  We Don't Forgive You, Your Friends at Arrowhead."
-- "Happy Belated Hanukkah, SJG, from the party boys who used to hang next door, until you got us kicked out just so you could sleep.  We're living on the street now, and we're pissed.  Send money, a sh*tload of it, care of that park bench on the north corner of Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park.  It's the one Dusty always pees on.  We know where you live, the Party Boys.  P.S. Eff you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The TV Critic Is In

Why didn't you tell me you were preggers? 
"In Treatment" is over, and I'm left scratching my keppy.  What a strange run of disappointing episodes, for the most part.  I think Gabriel Bryne as Dr. Paul Weston smiled twice the entire season, and that may be a slight exaggeration.  He was Dr. Cranky Pants, Dr. Delusional, Dr. Needs-A-Vacation.  The SJG has had, let's just say, lots of therapy over the years, emphasis on lots.  And these "In Treatment" sparring sessions between patient and shrink, more than past seasons, arrived from some remote TV galaxy far far away.  The "Frances" episodes, in particular, let me down.  I adore Debra Winger, but her self-conscious, super-actressy turn never quite jelled, and she shared zero chemistry with Gabriel Bryne.  I never got too invested in her journey, as we TV critics like to say.  I put in a down payment of time and got back bupkis in return.  What about my needs, people?  Sunil and Jesse were more compelling, although both story lines ended in a big thud of what-the-eff.   My favorite sessions were between Adele and Paul.  Amy Ryan showed such subtlety and finesse as Gabriel Byrne's young shrink.  He fell for her, insulted her, resented her, listened to her, walked away from her.  On the SJG bagel scale:  Adele gets four out of five wheat bagels.  (They're healthier and she's eating for two.)  Jesse gets three sourdough bagels (not sure they make sourdough) to match his disposition.  Sunil gets four pumpernickel, plus a nice glayzelle tey to go with.  Frances gets two egg bagels.  Dr. Paul Weston gets four onion bagels, even though he kind of phoned it in at times.  The season of "In Treatment" as a whole, gets three and a half raisin bagels, with an extra schmear for effort.  Will it be back for another run?  The SJG is going to call it:  Negatory.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Instant Mood Enhancer

Get well, Aretha
Nothing cheers me up more than Aretha Franklin's amazing voice.  "Freeway of Love" is one of my personal favorites.  I admit, it's impossible for me not to get up and dance to this mid-80s ode to Detroit.  I dare you to physically restrain me when "Freeway of Love" comes on the car radio.  Revoke my license, if you must, but I can't help myself.  The Queen of Soul's myriad hairstyles, her glorious hats, her unusual fashion style, her Snickers commercials, her Diva-like ways.  I love her so much it hurts.  The news that Miss Franklin is battling cancer arrives the day after Elizabeth Edwards' untimely death.  Let's say a big prayer for Aretha, and wish her well. In the meantime, here's "Freeway of Love."  Take a ride, and look for Clarence Clemons on sax. 

All I Wanted for Hanukkah

Tefillin Barbie
As Hanukkah winds down, I only wish my true love had given me Tefillin Barbie.  Maybe next year, if I'm good. I ask you, who wouldn't want a tallit-wearing, torah-reading Barbie? I always suspected Barbie was as Jewish as her creator, Ruth Handler, even though, let's face it, she does look like the ultimate shiksa goddess. (Don't even get me started on that goyisha Ken.) Tefllin Barbie comes to us courtesy of Jen Taylor Friedman, the first woman in modern times to have handwritten an entire Torah. (You go, girl!) Tefillin Barbie first appeared in 2006 and has been the subject of many articles, but it only just reached the short attention span of the SJG, thanks to Margit Roshal Crane( my super smart high school pal.  So thanks, Margit. I'll take my Barbie wrapped up in Tefillin, with or without bendable legs, any time.  Maybe next year, if I'm good.
You're invited to a Barbie Bar Mitzvah

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Resort-Like Living

Welcome to the building, boys.
Yesterday, I spent all freakin' day on the apartment hunt.  If that's not love, not to mention a deep-seated need to reclaim a little privacy, what is?  Turns out, I'm so good at this real estate stuff.  I found the eldest and his roomie a great apartment nearby and they actually loved it, unlike the other 82 places I found, which they hated for various picky reasons.  Kina hora, if the planets align and the checks clear, they'll be moving in by the end of the month.  Check out the description.  I'm tempted to move there myself.

"Nudnik Park offers residents distinctive studio, one and two bedroom floor plans to choose from. Built with your comfort and convenience in mind, our creatively detailed residences are sure to please and inspire. Apartment amenities include a kitchen equipped with dishwasher and garbage disposal, wall-to-wall carpeting, vertical blinds, a private balcony or patio and more! Become a resident and take advantage of all the recreational amenities and services that we offer. Community amenities include beautiful landscaping, a sparking swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, gated access, covered parking, on-site and on-call maintenance, a picnic area with barbecue and a private clubhouse and business center! Nudnik Park offers everything you want and more! Visit us today and see why Nudnik Park is the perfect place to call home."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hanukkah Ham

Dear Walmart, I think you are barking
up the wrong tree. Love, the Jews
Thanks to my favorite Catholic gal, Cathy Hamilton ( for sending me this tip.  I wrapped the ham in cheesecloth.  Big mistake.  Will I ever learn?

The Apartment Hunter

Sunday morning
I ask the eldest to list the pros and cons of moving out.  He emerges from beneath the blanket, ruminates, and has this to say:  "The decision could be the best or the worst of my existence.  It could bring me joy and happiness and freedom from your latkes, which we both know could use some work.  Or it could bring me shame and financial ruin, intestinal turbulence and irreversible psychological damage." I prop his head up with a pillow.  "I think you better stay put.  Now open wide.  Here comes a waffle."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Someone's Regressing

Was it something I said?
Six months of living at home with the 'rents and the eldest has had enough.  "I'm not growing as a person," he announced the other night.  At the time, he was sipping hot cocoa and wrapped up in a warm blankie on the fofa.  "I feel like I'm regressing."  I smoothed his hair and planted a kiss on his cheek.  "That's silly talk.  Do you to want to wear the black pants to worky, or the gray?" "You need to stop laying out the clothes you want me to wear to work."  "Bad Mommy," I said, and set down a plate of freshly-baked cookies on his lap.  "Don't make a mess, mister, or I cut you off at three cookies." "I'm looking for an apartment.  I can't take it anymore." "Check out Mr. Pouty Face." "All the goo-goo, ga-ga.  I'm about to be 23, Mom."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The SJG's Rules of Hanukkah Etiquette

Don't forget to tip
Dear SJG,
I always get confused by Hanukkah.  Do I have to atone for the entire eight days?  Am I allowed to recline on a bed of matzoh?  Must I bathe in Manichewitz every morning?  How many latkes should I hide from the children?  Should my head spin clockwise or counter clockwise when I play Extreme Dreidel 2010? 
Thanks for your help,
Hebrew School Drop-Out

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh, Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel

Disco Dreidel:  Spin, Spin, Already

Some nice Yeshiva boys harmonize through a medley as delish as a fresh latke.  Double click for full image.  (Again, I have to remind you?)  And more thing:  Happy Hanukkah!  Or do you prefer Chanukah?  And while we're on the subject, why so many spellings?  And why the wandering start date?  Every year, a different day in December, and once or twice November!  It's enough to make the SJG scream:  When is it?  When?  Let's get organized, people, and settle on a date.  I'd feel better, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gambling in Sherman Oaks

Last night, after hubby abandoned the broken dishwasher, curbside:
SJG: "It looks so sad out there, next to the trash cans."
H: "It's fine."
SJG: "It's not fine.  It's broken."
H: "I bet it'll be gone in the morning."
SJG:  "I bet it won't.  Why would anyone want a broken dishwasher?"
H: "I've seen those guys cruising the neighborhood. They'll pick up anything for scrap."
SJG:  "There's no way it's not there in the morning."
H:  "How much do you want to bet?"
SJG:  "Name your price."
H:  "One million dollars."
SJG:  "You're on."
Last night, around 10, upon arriving home from dance:
SJG:  "It's still out there."
H:  "It won't be in the morning."
This morning:
H: "Guess what's gone?"
SJG: "No.  Seriously?"
H:  "Pay up."
SJG: "It may take me a few days to raise the cash."
H: "You've got till this evening, then I send the boys."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oscar Goes Young

The news that James Franco and Anne Hathaway are hosting this year's Oscars makes me all kinds of cranky.  Like most things in life, the SJG takes this news as a personal affront, an insult to my very being.  They may as well post a billboard on Sunset: "Oscar Goes Young.  Deal With It, Bitches."  This is such an obvious appeal to edgier Generation Text, who know Franco more for "Pineapple Express" than "127 Hours," and Hathaway more for "The Devil Wears Prada" than "Rachel Getting Married."  True, they are both talented and super nice to look at it.  James Franco is funny when he's not acting all weird and spacey.  Anne Hathaway can sing, as she proved in that opening number when Hugh Jackman hosted the Oscars.  So fine, this may turn out to be the most inspired pairing since that Rob Lowe-Snow White duet in the '80s.  We shall see.  I'm just so glad they didn't pick Chelsea Handler. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Call Him Shirley

Dr. Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.
Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Won't Be Fooled Again

The old dishwasher heads out the back door, in disgust: 
"I've had it with you slobs."

The new dishwasher, installed by
hubby, settles in: "I've got this."
There was flooding in the streets
With our buckets at our feet
And the towels that we stockpile were all gone
And the thing that spurred us on
Up and quit, is was all wrong
On Turkey Day it broke and sang its song
We tip our hats to the new generation
Efficiency, the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up our Visa and pay
Just like yesterday
Then we'll get on our knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
The dishwasher got way too old, that's all
And the new one looks just the same
And history ain't changed
We won't get fooled again
Won't get fooled again
No, no!
Meet the new dish
Same as the old dish
Only better
(apologies to The Who)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who Said What?

Here's a fun game.  Match who said what at my house on Thanksgiving.  Win bupkis.
1. "@#*$!  It's still leaking."
a. Hubby
b. SJG
c. Roto Rooter
d. Robo Cop
2. "Where's my eff'n wine glass?"
a. Grandpa Benjy
b. Grandpa Skippy
c. Scotty the Youngest
d. SJG
3. "These goddamn bitch-ass matches."
a. Hunky firefighter
b. Cousin Amy
c. Uncle John
d. Billy the Eldest
4. "Please don't call it, 'that burnt bird.'"
a. Big Bird
b. Ornithology Society of Sherman Oaks
c. Tweety Bird
d. SJG
5. "I called it bird meat."
a. Felix the Cat
b. Tony the Tiger
c. Billy the Eldest
d. Uncle Dan
6. "I lost my eff'n wine glass again."
a. Hubby
b. Scotty
c. SJG
d. Billy
7. "If you hadn't told us about the turkey or the dishwasher, we never would've known."
a. Grandma Char
b. Martha Stewart
c. Cousin Andy
d. Aunt Elly
8. "But that's my schtick.  Neurotic, needy and self-deprecating."
a. Joan Rivers
b. Phyllis Diller
c. SJG
d. Cher
9. "Gluten-free pumpkin pie?"
a. Allison
b. Aunt Marion
c. Scotty
d. Grandpa Benjy
10. "I've had enough of you people."
a. Hubby
b. SJG
c. Lucas
d. all of the above
(Answers:  Oh, hell no.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Blame Martha

What do you have to say for yourself?
It's always good to warn your guests that maybe things didn't go according to plan.  That way, they know not to expect much.  Rather than say, "Wait till you taste the turkey, mmm good," I like to issue a warning.  "Come on in, I almost destroyed the turkey." "Love your scarf.  I almost burned down the house."  "Your coat is so soft!  How do you feel about charbroiled turkey?"  I blame Martha Stewart.  Her stupid cheesecloth method didn't work, mainly because I didn't follow directions, but that's beside the point.  I watched her do it on the Today Show, and she said nothing about making sure you use lots of layers of cheesecloth.  Or, if she did, I sure as hell didn't hear her.  So I set the oven at 450, I put in the turkeys, smothered in butter and sherry-drenched stupid cheesecloth, and when the birds turned, what's the word I'm looking for, black, and the house filled with smoke, and hubby gave me one of his famous looks (he has two looks, pissed, and really pissed), I thought, uh, holy sh*t, what up with that?  In panic mode,  I called Amy, my spiritual turkey guide. "Amy?  Is it supposed to be black?" She said yes, the cheesecloth is indeed supposed to be black.  "So the turkey isn't really black, it's just the cheesecloth, right?"  A long pause on the other end.  "Well, yeah, but maybe you should check under the cheesecloth."  "Okay, hang on.  Oh, no.  Oh, God.  I think I eff'd up.  Gotta go."  I turned the oven down to 325, I took off the stupid cheesecloth, I wrapped my birds in foil and prayed.  Then I went to turn on the dishwasher and it broke.  Yes, water poured out.  It was the great flood of Sherman Oaks.  Then hubby started swearing.  I ran to get the bucket and towels.  Many hours of testy behavior followed.  At some point, the guests arrived and claimed that the turkey was wonderful.  Of course, they'd all been drinking.  They could've been eating tree bark.  What did they know?  Tomorrow, the new dishwasher arrives.  Hubby plans to install it himself.  I plan to be out of town.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Means Thanks Living

The SJG obsessively checks the turkeys

Table for 10

Tables for 10 more
We have two expressions at this time of year:  "Bring out the first turkey!" (Alka Seltzer), and "Thanksgiving means thanks living," (my mother's rabbi in Chicago).  Oh, and one more thing:  "Why so chintzy with the wine?  Fill 'er up."  This year, I'm cooking my cuzzie-caterer Amy's ( take on Martha Stewart's Turkey 101.  Martha bastes with melted butter and wine, but Amy bastes with melted butter and Harvey's Bristol Creme Sherry. Amy says it's downright upright, and I believe her, as it involves cheesecloth, starting the bird at a high temperature (which makes the SJG very very nervous) and basting, basting, basting, every freakin' half hour.  My house smells so good, it's obscene.  I've got the Macy's Parade on, I've got a nice hubby anticipating various televised sporting events, I've got two sons asleep upstairs, I've got an eight-year-old dog named Dusty that thinks he's still a puppy.  I've got my health.  What more could a short Jewish gal want?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Dessert Maven

"A 22 year old will do anything to infuse alcohol
 into his dessert." - Billy Schneider
Billy's Chocolate Rum Balls for Thanksgiving
(unless they get eaten before Thursday)
Ingredients: 3 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons light corn syrup 1/2 cup rum
Directions: In a large bowl, stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and nuts. Blend in corn syrup and rum. Shape into 1 inch balls, and roll in additional confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container for several days to develop the flavor. (Refrigeration optional.)  Roll again in confectioners' sugar before serving.
"You have ruined the surprise, and humiliated
me for the last time, Mother." - anonymous son

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The First Turkey

My table should look so good
My favorite Alka Seltzer commercial of all time takes place at Thanksgiving.  A big family gathers around a dining room table with every known side dish in the universe.  Guests sit there, anticipating the feast, and a voice announces, "Bring out the first turkey." A man turns to camera, his stomach aching in advance of the marathon binge, and says, "The FIRST turkey?"  It's not Thanksgiving if my brother John doesn't say, "Bring out the first turkey." We do this routine every year.  It's mandatory.  On Thursday, it's my turn to host Thanksgiving, and of course, I'll be making two turkeys.  Twenty people, all champion fressers, expect to eat, and I better deliver, or trust me, they'll talk about me all year. "Interesting Thanksgiving.  No turkey.  Remind me never to go back there again."  I wouldn't dare disappoint these people.  I'd like to be included in their wills.  So I'll make the turkeys, the yams, the cranberry sauce, and they'll bring the supporting players:  gravy and stuffing, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, pies made of pumpkin and pecan, cakes made of cheese, rum balls, cookies, and who knows what else.  God willing, this year, no one will trip on a chair (kina hora).  God willing, this year, no one will run naked through the house.  (They made me sign an affidavit, a few years back.)  God willing, my turkeys will behave in the oven, turn brown, be tender, moist and delish.  But no matter what goes down in the kitchen, the SJG is grateful.  For what?  So much.  List available upon request. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010


"Alternative to Body Scanners at Airports:  The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports. It's a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with none of the whining about racial profiling. It also would eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials. Justice would be swift. Case closed! You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system:  Attention standby passengers — we now have a seat available on flight number ____. Shalom."
-- Posted on by Ooh-Ah, sent to me by my dad

Friday, November 19, 2010

Marital Advice for William & Kate

Flowers from William and Kate
Dear SJG,
We are delighted to be working with you as our newly-anointed personal Jewish consultant. As you can imagine, not everyone is thrilled with the news of our conversion to your faith.  Perhaps you could offer us some early marital advice, as we gear up for all the pomp and circumstance, the yada yada yada, of our impending nuptials. We look forward to meeting you and can't wait to see what hat you've picked out for our engagement brunch.  Per your suggestion, we've ordered a nice spread from Nate n' Als.  Lox is rather expensive.  Who knew?
Prince William and his Kateness

Dear Will and Kate,
You guys are spoiling me!  The flowers are beyond gorgeous!  Thanks ever so much.  I completely kvelled when I received them.  I'm so honored to be working with you as your personal maven on all things Jewish, I could plotz. All the media attention, however, is a tad overwhelming.  Paparazzi staked out in front of my home night and day.  Oy gevalt.  Seriously, how do you people deal?  Per your request, I've carefully selected material that you may find helpful.  The enclosed video features a pent-up fellow named Sam Kinison, alev ha sholem. Take his views on marriage with a major grain of salt.  The SJG first encountered this meshuggah comic in the living room of close friends in the early '80s, before anyone knew about him.  He was hired to rant at a bunch of Jews, as part of a birthday celebration. He stood there in his dirty raincoat, giving such a geschrei at the top of his lungs, we were scared sh*tless. A few months later, he showed up on "SNL" and we felt like such big machers. 
Much love to you and yours,
the SJG
P.S.  Did you get the ruggelach I sent? 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where Did I Go Wrong?

At dinner, I mention that Eva Longoria just dumped Tony Parker's ass for cheating.  The employed son reflects on this turn of events, as only he can:  "It makes no sense that these guys are married.  They're in a different @#$%'n city every night and they're famous and rich.  If I were in the NBA, I'd live it up from my 20s to my 30s, then once I retired, I'd settle down."  I'm so glad we cleared that up.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't Forget Your Tiara

Which hat should I wear?
Quote of the day:  "Forget all the technicalities, Consultant.  You're going to need a fabulous hat.  Start looking, SJG." This comes from my dear friend Cathy Hamilton, a nice Catholic girl from Kansas, who was just a little surprised to learn of the royal couple's plans to convert to Judaism.  Buckingham Palace prefers to stay mum, but the SJG knows what's up.  I have spies everywhere, people. Remember that.  Meanwhile, the search for a fine chapeau to wear to the royal wedding commences.  The fact that I look silly in hats is besides the point.  My friend Romalyn suggests a tiara adorned with diamonds and emeralds, to match my sparkly green eyes.  I do believe I could rock that look, even if, technicalities aside, a tiara is more accessory than hat.  I'm thinking tiara for the royal ball, Aretha Franklin inauguration hat for the royal wedding.  What are your thoughts?
This might work

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'll Bring The Chuppah

He'll look good in a yarmulke
"The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton," the statement from Clarence House read.  In addition, the Prince confirmed that his son and future daughter-in-law have decided to convert to Judaism.  "It may have something to do with the yarmulke," Prince Charles speculated.  "It does a wonderful job hiding the male-pattern baldness that the eldest has inherited from the royal genes."  To help with the conversion, Prince William has reportedly hired the well-respected, much-in-demand Short Jewish Gal of Sherman Oaks, as his personal consultant.  The SJG will supply the rabbi, along with a slew of Yiddish terms, lessons on Guilt and How To Use It, and will teach Catherine how to cook a nice kugel.  "I'm honored to be included in this exciting occasion," the SJG said earlier today.  "I've already picked out the perfect chuppah for the happy couple.  What to wear to the wedding?  That's a whole other issue."  Buckingham Palace said the Queen is "absolutely delighted" for the couple.  "The Queen is a big fan of bagels and blintzes and has been known to enjoy a slice or two of challah with her afternoon tea.  She would like to take this opportunity to say mazel tov to her grandson and his lovely wife-to-be, and hopes they will understand that she will be otherwise engaged on their wedding day, watching reruns of 'Benny Hill.'"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Put That Back!

An overhead view of my house
Sometimes I call it the Bermuda Triangle, other times, the Black Hole.  I have many names for this dark and mysterious locale.  It is alien, insatiable, Houdini-like.  A freakin' force of nature, magnetically-powered.  A saber-toothed con artist.  A steamroller baby.  A churning urn of burning funk.  Demanding as hell.  It wants what it wants, when it wants it.  On any given day, it might consume:  house keys, car keys, neighbors' keys.  On any given day, it might feast on the following: cameras, camera cords, camera cases.  On any given day, it might devour the most random snacks imaginable: a favorite sweater, a favorite CD, a favorite book.  Hardback or paper.  It isn't picky.  Try looking for any of the above.  Go ahead.  Take a shot.  I promise you this: You won't find it.  It's gone.  Forever.  It's up and left the building.  The document I meant to get notorized?  See ya.  The locket with my mother's photo?  Nowhere.  Cash, credit cards, coupons for half-off?  Fugetaboutit.  Things I hold dear.  Things I don't give a crap about, but would like to know where they went, anyway?  So long, sister.  Sayonara.  The Bermuda Triangle.  The Black Hole.  The thing with many labels. The kitchen.  The dining room table.  The garage.  The office.  The hall closet.  The upstairs closet.  Any closet.  Any room.  Pick one, any one.  Put something there, on a counter or a chair, on a hanger or in a drawer, and kiss it adios.  The tickets to that show next week?  Good luck with that.  The only photo of me with my eyes open?  Don't get too attached.  Sometimes, the universe likes to eff with me.  Haha, SJG.  You won't find it there, there or there.  Enough with the hide and seek.  I'm onto you.  Put it back where it belongs.  Put it back, pretty please.  No questions asked.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sometimes My Mind Wanders

The evidence is in.  The way to be happy is to do the exact opposite of what I do.  Follow these simple rules and you're good.  Do what I do (overthink, obsess, linger in the past, rinse and repeat) and you may as well pack it in.  But as long as you don't let your mind wander into dark terrain; as long as you don't dwell on the negative  (this sucks, that sucks, what doesn't suck?); as long as you contemplate your pipik for five to ten minutes daily(breathe out, breathe in, ommmmm); as long as you don't multi-task (kibbitz, text, polka, reupholster, juggle, simultaneously) you'll be so much happier than the SJG.  So listen to me, peeps.  Live in the moment.  Stay put.  Don't trespass.  Don't mosey off into your unhappy place.  Don't do what I do.  Do the exact opposite, and you'll be fine.